Recently crowned winner of the Golden Boy Award, Jude Bellingham, has claimed that he grew up idolising Wayne Rooney.
Eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid splurged £88m on the 20 year old Englishman, however the youngster has taken it all in his stride and gone from strength to strength whilst playing in the pressure cooker of the Bernabeu.
The youngster won the Bundesliga player of the year last year as Borussia Dortmund came so agonisingly close to winning the league.
The England international also played a pivotal role for England in the Qatar World Cup in 2022 and has already become one of the most influential players for The Three Lions.
The former Birmingham City player has scored an eye-catching 15 goals in 17 games this season so far. To put this in context, the midfielder only scored 24 goals in 132 total appearances for Dortmund. (All stats according to transfermarkt.com)
Consequently, such form has seen the player rewarded with the Golden Boy award. After picking up the trophy, the England international claimed that his icon was Manchester United legend, Wayne Rooney.
Bellingham has joined an impressive list of players like Rooney, Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to win the much coveted award.
According to goal.com, at the ceremony in Turin the midfielder stated, “It’s about trying to make my team and my country the best teams in the world. I think to be the best player in the world, that’s what you have to do, to help your teams win. To join that list is such a big honour”.
Interestingly for fans of the Red Devils, Bellingham asserted that, “For me, I would probably say that Rooney was my biggest influence growing up. Being from England, the way he played, the way he fought. But there are so many other players I’ve taken bits from.”
Despite idolising Rooney, the player actually turned down the chance to follow in his idol’s footsteps and move to United in 2020.
The Peoples Person reported that “former Birmingham City advisor Andrés Manzano has admitted that the overwhelming belief during his time at St Andrew’s was that Jude Bellingham would join Manchester United”.
The Red Devils pulled out all the stops to convince the player by inviting the player and his family for a tour of the club’s facilities and even organized a meeting with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
However, it was all in vain as the Stourbridge-born midfielder eventually opted for the Bundesliga and the rest as they say, is history.
Nonetheless, it is widely expected that Bellingham will make a return to the Premier League in the future and while United showed interest in the player when he was on the move in the summer, the Old Trafford outfit was never really seen by many as a serious destination.
Liverpool and Manchester City have been seen as more likely future options for the magnificently talented young star, however, Red Devils fans will be hoping by the time the player is ready to come back to his home country, United will be back in the mix as serious contenders for the League and Champions League.